Improving Your Inner Self

The blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers. -Genesis 49:26

Dear members and friends,

Joseph – the eleventh son of Jacob and first son of Rachel – is one of a very few figures in the Bible who lived a blameless life. His name in Hebrew means “Jehovah has added,” because his mother wished to have another son. According to the KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon, the Hebrew word, Joseph (or Yowceph), is the future tense of a verb, yacaph, which means “to add or increase.” Thus, grammatically speaking, Joseph should mean, “Jehovah will add.” This meaning might be truly significant to those who read the Bible with Swedenborg’s correspondences. According to Swedenborg, Joseph symbolizes what is spiritual or truth. Truth itself is indeed great to obtain because truth illuminates and enlightens our mind. However, according to Swedenborg, truth has meaning only to the extent that it produces matching goodness, with which it unites. Thus, the purpose of obtaining truth is to produce goodness. In other words, obtaining truth means in near future goodness will be added to it. Accordingly, Joseph’s brother Benjamin symbolizes what is celestial or good, and Benjamin Hebrew means “son of the right hand.” A son of the right hand itself symbolizes goodness with power.  

The lesson we can learn from Jacob’s blessings for Joseph is that truth is significantly important only as a means to cultivate goodness. In other words, our inner formation is improved only through intentional, good actions we bestow on others. The Bible repeats this simple message over and over again: the purpose of our life here on earth is to find ways to be kind, caring, and supportive to others, which is nothing but the inner formation of our true self.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee